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Feb 7, 2017

In episode 28 of America Adapts, Doug Parsons talks with Dr. Rebecca Beavers of the Climate Change Response Program at the National Park Service. Yes, that Park Service of Federal government fame.  In this fascinating and very practical episode, Rebecca talks about the newly released Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook.  Doug and Rebecca talk about the history of the guidebook and some practical ways to apply what’s in it.

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“We are here to help the parks adapt to climate change.” Dr. Rebecca Beavers, National Park Service

In addition, we are in week three of the new Trump Administration. It is important to note this podcast was recorded three days before Trump’s inauguration. For the record, Dr. Beavers obtained permission through appropriate channels at NPS to participate in this podcast.  The recording occurred under the Obama administration, but the publication of the podcast has been delayed for several weeks into the Trump Administration.

It remains to be seen how active federal agencies, and NPS in particular, will be able to speak out on climate change related work.  But for the time being, listen in as Dr. Beavers – a brilliant and committed public servant - talks about coastal adaptation.  

Doug also talks with Dan Ackerstein about the first few weeks of the Trump administration and what that will mean, based on early actions by Trump, for federal agencies like NPS working on climate change issues.



  • Doug and Rebecca talk about the unique mission of the National Park Service.
  • What would it mean to privatize a park?
  • We discuss the realities of parks that will be submerged by sea level rise and what that means for your average park goer’s experience.
  • Learn about all the climate change activities NPS is involved in.
  • Learn the art of making waysides at the parks.
  • In depth discussion of the coastal adaptation handbook.
  • We talk about the role of scenario planning at NPS.
  • We discuss the unique ability of NPS in protecting some of America’s key cultural resources.
  • We discuss the size of the report and the challenges of people taking advantage of it. How does one approach it in a useful way.
  • Is there an opportunity for each park to host its own podcast?
  • We talk about NPS being able to do what they’ve been doing on climate change within a new Trump administration.
  • America’s best idea has done groundbreaking work on climate change and the public will expect it continues to do so!

Additional Resources:

Coastal Adaptation Strategies Handbook- released Oct 31, 2016- 4th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy

Coastal Adaptation Strategies Case Studies (Companion to handbook) - Released at COP 21 in Paris, Nov 2015

More Coastal Resources

CR Strategy & Impacts table

NPS Climate Change

More on Coastal Geology

More on Ocean & Coastal resources

Yale Climate Connections Podcast- Statue of Liberty September 2016

KPBS interview with Rebecca Beavers about broader Climate Change Impacts in the National Park Service

Climate Central's report on National Park Service units near New York City at risk from Sea Level Rise

Ensia- What is a National Park to do about Climate Change

Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities; A Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment; Co- author Adaptation and Mitigation Chapter (with Lara Hansen)

Marcy Rockman's Blog post Sea Change: Climate Change and Coastal National Parks


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